Four key steps for companies looking to adopt digital transformation
By Dave Ives – Chief Customer Officer, Altron Karabina
As we transform products and deliver them to market differently, interact with our customers via different tools or channels and aim to empower our employees to deliver more with the right tools, we need to ensure we provide a framework for this all to happen. Below are some considerations from my experience at Altron Karabina, accumulated from years of assisting companies to digitally transform, says Dave Ives, Chief Customer Officer, Altron Karabina.
Step 1: Does your business have a clear target operating model and defined way of working in this new world?
If not, try and build a simple model of the business and how you intend to operate in this digitally enabled era. There are plenty of tools like Business Model Canvas and a few others to help you simplify the business operating model.
Step 2: Do you have a clear set of key business processes that need to be configured/changed to enable the business?
Why bother building standard operating procedures and process maps on outdated processes when the key processes need to be defined first. You may start going down the rabbit hole only to realise that process needs to change in the first place. Altron Karabina has developed a very simple business control model together with key processes to help define this and link it to the operating model in the business. We have also defined, in conjunction with these processes, the right level of analytics and reporting required to highlight efficiencies in the process, whether this is in the financial reporting, sales or down to warehouse management systems to show errors and issues at a site level.
Step 3: Application landscape and inventory defined? What if you go out and buy applications without having defined step 1 and 2?
Well, you might have some cool apps, but Frankenstein might well be alive and well in the application landscape and architecture of your IT systems. Defining the application landscape aligned to on-premises versus cloud and how these would service the key processes in the post-modern application world is important. Mapping these to how they fulfil the revamped and legacy processes with easy standards and way of working will change the way a business works. While we have focused on the Microsoft solution stack with Dynamics 365, Office 365 and Azure as the cloud platform, our tools are generic for most scenarios and platforms. Don’t do this at your peril – just when you think your system is standalone and does not need integration, that's when you need to start hiring lots of people to add data and information to make it easier to interface with.
Step 4: Consider your IT platforms, including networking and connectivity
Once you have made some clear strategic decisions on what you want to enable and applications to support this going forward, the platform to deliver this becomes an important discussion. From new technologies like software-driven networks (SD-WAN) to new methods of cloud-enabled infrastructure, these technologies can reduce barriers to entry and improve the customer and employee experience dramatically. When we have considered a combination of new Azure capabilities with the latest networking technology from a number of providers, we have seen how applications and processes have changed the way companies interact with their customers. This is sometimes done the other way around where companies have a large revamp on platforms planned, but are seriously misaligned to the company strategy.
Some other fundamentals:
- Make sure you have a knowledgeable and driven executive sponsor who sees the value in “driving digital”.
- Don’t underestimate the change management to help people move into this new world.
- Governance and security is a given. This must underpin key decisions and frameworks for delivery.
- Don’t always expect the people who created the problem to find the solution; sometimes diversity of thinking and external experience can help change the internal paradigms and culture.
- Have fun while you change. Be positive and forward-looking, it’s tough enough out there!